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Israeli airlines said prodding Saudis to permit flights over airspace this week

According to TV report, El Al and Arkia are asking to reroute flights to destinations in the East to shorten flight times

Illustrative: An El Al flight takes off at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, October 25, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)
Illustrative: An El Al flight takes off at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, October 25, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they unfolded.

Police: 15-year-old girl lightly hurt after being shot in Lod

A 15-year-old girl from the central city of Lod has suffered light injuries after being shot, in what appears to be a family dispute, police say.

The victim arrived at Shamir Medical Center in a light condition, according to the statement.

Police have arrested a 30-year-old man related to the victim on suspicion of involvement in the incident. The suspect will face the Rishon Lezion District Court on Sunday. Police say they will request to extend his detention in order to further investigate the matter.

Israel freezes move to let in 1,500 more Gazan workers after overnight rocket fire

Israel freezes a move that would expand the quota of work permits for Gazan Palestinians to 15,500, after terrorists in the coastal enclave launched four rockets toward southern Israel overnight.

Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, widely known by its acronym COGAT, announced Tuesday that an additional 1,500 permits would be added to the quota.

But following the rocket attacks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has decided to freeze the move, COGAT says.

“The Hamas terror group bears responsibility for everything that is done in and emanates from the Gaza Strip towards the State of Israel, and it will bear the consequences,” the statement says.

Israeli carriers said prodding Saudis to permit flights over airspace this week

Illustrative: An El Al plane lands at Ben Gurion Airport, on October 13, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Illustrative: An El Al plane lands at Ben Gurion Airport, on October 13, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israeli airlines are requesting to use Saudi Arabia’s skies for their flights as soon as this week, after Riyadh said it would allow them to fly over its territory, according to Channel 13 news.

The network says El Al and Arkia are both asking to reroute flights scheduled this week to destinations in the East, which would shorten flight times by up to three hours.

Reports: Israeli officials believe overnight Gaza clash won’t lead to escalation

Fireballs are seen following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city on July 16, 2022. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Fireballs are seen following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city on July 16, 2022. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Israel’s security establishment assesses there will not be an escalation with the Gaza Strip after four rockets were fired at Israel over the weekend, and following retaliatory strikes in Gaza by the IDF, according to Hebrew media reports.

Channel 12 reports that Hamas has conveyed it is not interested in an escalation.

In response to the rockets, the Israeli military said it struck “one of the largest and most important sites in the Strip for the production of base materials for rockets.”

The unsourced Channel 12 report says the target was a significant one, and that Israel decided to hit it even at the price of escalation, as it saw the rocket attack as an opportunity to hit a key Hamas site.

It is not clear who fired the rockets. Ynet reports, without citing a source, that Israeli officials believe the culprits were rogue elements frustrated at Joe Biden’s visit to Israel and the apparent warming of relations between Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia.

Defense chiefs huddle after overnight rocket fire from Gaza

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, military chief Aviv Kohavi and other senior defense officials are holding an assessment now regarding the overnight rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces responded with a series of airstrikes in Gaza. Officials are now discussing other potential responses, including closing the Erez border crossing for civilian traffic.

Among those participating in the meeting are the IDF’s chief of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva and the military’s liaison to the Palestinians Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian.

Iran says naval officer ‘martyred’ in latest mysterious military death

A senior Iranian naval officer has died as a “martyr” while “performing his mission,” according to Iranian media reports.

Admiral Beitaleh Devsalar’s funeral will be held Sunday in front of the Nowshahr Admiralty on the country’s northern coast, the semi-official Fars news agency says.

It is not clear exactly how the officer was killed, but the term “martyr” is usually given to those killed while on important assignments.

The death of the man comes as tensions remain high over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers, and its uranium enrichment program that is now the closest it has ever been to weapons-grade levels.

The latest incident is one of several mysterious deaths of high-level Iranian military figures in recent months. Last month, two members of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division died as “martyrs” in Iran in separate incidents.

UK braces for record breaking heat, temperatures may hit 40°C

Passengers queue for ferries at the Port of Dover, during the hot weather, in Kent, England, July 16, 2022. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
Passengers queue for ferries at the Port of Dover, during the hot weather, in Kent, England, July 16, 2022. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

The British government was holding an emergency response meeting Saturday to plan for record high temperatures next week after weather authorities issued their first-ever “red” warning for extreme heat.

The alert covers large parts of England on Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures may reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the first time, posing a risk of serious illness and even death among healthy people, the UK Met Office, the country’s weather service, said Friday.

The British heat record is 38.7°C (101.7°F), set in 2019.

Rail passengers and users of the London Underground subway system were being advised not to travel on Monday and Tuesday unless it’s absolutely necessary. With children and older people considered particularly vulnerable to high temperatures, schools and nursing homes have been urged to take steps to protect students and older residents. Most schools in England are still in session until the end of next week.

“If customers do need to travel, they should check before they travel, as we are expecting there to be some impact to Tube and rail services as a result of temporary speed restrictions we will need to introduce to keep everyone safe,” said Andy Lord, the chief operating officer of Transport for London, which runs the capital’s transportation system.

The alert comes as scientists say climate change is increasing the likelihood of exceptional heat waves in Britain, a country unaccustomed to such temperatures.

Few homes, apartments, schools, and small businesses in the country have air conditioning.

Britain usually has moderate summer temperatures. Across the UK, average July temperatures range from a daily high of 21°C (70°F) to a low of 12°C (53°F).

London Mayor Sadiq Khan met with representatives of the National Health Service, police, fire, and other emergency services on Friday to ensure that plans were in place to deal with the heat emergency.

One doctor warned that the upcoming heat wave and a surge in COVID-19 infections were causing a nightmare for health workers.

“A lot of hospital buildings are very old, particularly in London, and many don’t have air conditioning and windows that don’t open – so they are extremely hot,” said Dr. Claire Bronze, 38, an emergency room consultant in London. “Some staff still have to wear PPE – so plastic gowns, masks, gloves – on top of their normal uniform which, as you can imagine, means people are quickly going to get very hot and dehydrated.”

Saudi Arabia: ‘Not aware’ of talks on advancing GCC-Israeli defense alliance

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud says he was not aware of any discussions regarding a GCC-Israeli defense alliance after a senior US official said earlier today that the Biden administration sees “great value” in the integrated air defense network it is hoping to establish with Mideast allies.

“There was no discussion about a GCC-Israeli defense alliance or anything of the sort, at least I’m not aware of such discussions,” Al Saud says during a press conference.

Saudi Arabia: Opening our airspace ‘nothing to do with diplomatic ties with Israel, not a precursor’

Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud waits for the start of a round table meeting at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome, October 30, 2021. (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud waits for the start of a round table meeting at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome, October 30, 2021. (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Contradicting US President Joe Biden, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud says Riyadh’s decision to open its airspace for all civilian overflights has “nothing to do with diplomatic ties with Israel” and is “not in any way precursor to any further steps” toward normalization.

Al Saud appears to want to pour cold water over the declared expectations in Jerusalem and Washington that its decision, announced Thursday, to open its airspace to all civilian carriers — a move that will enable flights to and from Israel to China and India to take a far shorter and less costly route —  marks a first step toward formal relations with Israel.

“No, this has nothing to do with diplomatic ties with Israel,” the minister says in a press conference after the GCC+3 summit in Jeddah. “The issue of overflights is a decision we took based on our commitments… and also in the interest in providing connectivity between countries in the world, and we hope that it will make some travelers’ lives easier. It’s not in any way a precursor to any further steps.”

In a speech late Friday night after a pair of bilateral meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Biden called the overflights decision by Riyadh “a big deal — not only symbolically but substantively.”

“This is the first tangible step on the path of what I hope will eventually be a broader normalization of relations” between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Biden added.

On Friday morning, similarly, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid had welcomed the Saudi move “opening Saudi airspace to Israeli airlines” as “the first official step in normalization with Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “I thank the Saudi leadership for the opening of Saudi airspace. This is only the first step.”

Biden leaves Saudi Arabia, wrapping up first Middle East trip as president

US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One before departing from King Abdulaziz International Airport, wrapping up his first Middle East tour as president, in the Saudi city of Jeddah, July 16, 2022, (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One before departing from King Abdulaziz International Airport, wrapping up his first Middle East tour as president, in the Saudi city of Jeddah, July 16, 2022, (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — US President Joe Biden is wheels up from Jeddah en route to Washington after wrapping up a four day Middle East tour in Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.

Biden is seen off at the coastal city airport by Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the governor of Mecca province.

Saudi Arabia warns against ‘unrealistic’ policies to curb emissions

US President Joe Biden (C-L) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) arrive for the family photo during the Jeddah Security and Development Summit (GCC+3) at a hotel in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP)
US President Joe Biden (C-L) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) arrive for the family photo during the Jeddah Security and Development Summit (GCC+3) at a hotel in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warns that “unrealistic policies” to curb emissions could fuel inflation, as he chairs a summit bringing together Arab leaders and US President Joe Biden.

The kingdom is the world’s largest crude exporter, but Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler, has tried to make environmentally friendly policies a centerpiece of his reform agenda.

Last year, Saudi Arabia pledged ahead of the COP26 climate change summit to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060, sparking skepticism from environmental campaigners.

“Adopting unrealistic policies to reduce emissions by excluding major sources of energy will lead in the coming years to unprecedented inflation and a rise in energy prices, while increasing unemployment and exacerbating serious social and security problems,” Prince Mohammed said.

Top German art show director to quit over antisemitism at exhibit

The head of a major art show in Germany has resigned after an exhibit featuring antisemitic elements prompted an outcry at the event’s opening last month.

The board of Documenta say that Sabine Schormann is leaving her post as chief executive by mutual agreement. It also expresses regret about what it describes as “unambiguously antisemitic motifs” visible in one of the works shown at the opening weekend.

“The presentation of the banner ‘People’s Justice’ by the artists collective Taring Padi with its antisemitic imagery was a clear transgression and thereby caused significant harm to the Documenta,” the board says.

The banner features a soldier with the face of a pig, wearing a neckerchief with a Star of David and a helmet inscribed with the word “Mossad,” the name of Israel’s intelligence agency. It was taken down within days after widespread criticism from Jewish groups and German and Israeli officials.

At Saudi summit, Arab leaders say Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be ignored

Jordan's King Abdullah II attends the Jeddah Security and Development Summit (GCC+3) at a hotel in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
Jordan's King Abdullah II attends the Jeddah Security and Development Summit (GCC+3) at a hotel in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

While US President Joe Biden left Israel out of his remarks in Jeddah today, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani brought up the Jewish state in the context of the Palestinian issue.

Abdullah warned that there would be no stability in the region without a solution to the conflict, and Sissi called for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Al Thani offered a similar position before calling on members not to “abandon” the Arab Peace Initiative only because Israel has refused the proposal.

The 2002 proposal offers Israel full normalized relations with all 22 members of the Arab League if Israel agrees to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and with a just resolution for Palestinian refugees.

 

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